Thursday, October 13, 2005

"Martina" - Martina

Martina's first self titled album "Martina", her eighth overall effort is quite an eclectic affair. Martina and her husband bought their own studio so that they could record without pressure and at their own pace. If you have only heard "This One's For The Girls", which sounds like a typical Martina type song, you can not judge this album, it has a bit of everything from Nashville country to acoustic, almost bluegrass music. Martina says " From a production standpoint, I really wanted it to be warm and to sound more like an old vinyl record as opposed to really clean, pristine and digital. " I would have to say that she really achieved this goal, the album has a really warm, realistic sound to it, lacking loads of special effects and the acoustic guitars have a real nice earthy sound to them. She keeps a nice balance of fiddle, pedal steel even on the more pop sounding songs giving the whole album a refreshing modern country sound using traditional country instruments. The Nashville String Machine is used tastefully without being overdone. A couple of the songs have a beautiful sparse feeling to them which is refreshing with Martina's strong, but confident sweet sounding soprano.
The album starts out with a great song "So Magical", which is a bit crossover, but just is a strong encouraging song full of great hooks which Martina brings to life. "She's a Butterfly" is a beautiful upbeat, country song which really pulls you in. The petite brunette has picked a great selection of songs in which the lyrical content is something you listen to, she really has a collection here of songs that either have a message or that you can relate to ,pull your heart out or that just down right lift your spirits.
"Wearing White" is one of my favorites, it's an acoustic country tune that has a very sparse arrangement, but the melody and acoustic guitar lines just make you wish the song was longer. It's a fast paced almost bluegrass tune about a gal with a not perfect past, but insists on wearing white at her wedding. Martina really sounds at home on this warm uplifting song. "Reluctant Daughter" is another one of my favorites. It is really close to a bluegrass gospel song with a modern touch and once again, a sparse recording with some great fiddle. It's about a lady pleading to make her relationship with the Lord closer (Great Song).
Another just great song is "God's Will", the title really fooled me, I thought it was going to be another gospel song about doing God's will, no it is about a boy named Will who is always referred to as Gods' Will. This is my absolute favorite. Will has a disability, he is first described as having braces on his legs and has trouble walking. (She met him on Halloween, dressed up as a sack of leaves, that's God's Will)-intro line, great story and melody, ends with the same line and then about another minute of quiet acoustic music going into variations of the songs melody. If this song doesn't really move you, nothing will, Martina really puts herself into the song and talks about how this person effects her life (He always prays at dinner time but never for himself--),another line, just a brilliant inspiring song. Martina closes the album with a live version of "Over The Rainbow", that is just plain awesome, sometimes you can just jump genres for fun and I just love this beautiful, emotive version of this classic song.
In closing I would say that a lot of work was put into making this album work, Martina has become one of the top ladies of country and this work showcases that.
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